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Ghost Canyon

Title - 'Under A Spell'
Artist - Richard Barbieri

For those not in the know, Richard Barbieri (Japan, Rain Tree Crow, Porcupine Tree) didn’t plan to make an album like Under A Spell, having originally intended his fourth solo album to be a direct follow from its predecessor, 2017’s Planets + Persona.

That record, made in different studios across Europe and heavily incorporating live performances from a range of musicians, was adventurous and bold, showcasing Barbieri’s endlessly inventive song writing and mastery of electronic music.

The follow-up would pick up where it left off, journeying further into the expansive terrain he mapped out on the previous record. And then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and everything changed. “I wrote and recorded it in my studio at home, with all this strangeness going on outside,” says Barbieri of Under A Spell. “It became something completely different: this weird, self-contained dream-state album.”

1. 'Under A Spell' [7:19]
2. 'Clockwork' [2:33]
3. 'Flare 2' [8:51]
4. 'A Star Light' [3:50]
5. 'Serpentine' [6:22]
6. 'Sleep Will Find You' [2:51]
7. 'Sketch 6' [6:30]
8. 'Darkness Will Find You' [4:58]
9. 'Lucid' [6:14]

The man whose illustrious career began in the late '70s with synth-pop visionaries Japan, and more recently as a member of influential art-rock band Porcupine Tree, opens his brand new album with the hauntingly playful title track 'Under A Spell' and backs that up with the bright and perky 'Clockwork,' the the sterner, metallic ambiance of 'Flare 2,' and then the translucent 'A Star Light.'

The emotive 'Serpentine' takes us back to his days creating grooves for Japan and then we get the short, but sweet 'Sleep Will Find You,' the drum-led melodies of 'Sketch 6,' the album rounding out on the grounded ether of 'Darkness Will Find You,' closing on the free flowing majesty of 'Lucid.'

The album’s title perfectly encapsulates the haunting, evocative world Barbieri has created. Songs such as the skittering, billowing ‘Clockwork’ and ‘Sketch 6’s dub-inspired soundscape hang suspended in that strange half-world between sleep and waking – a subconscious reflection of the surreal state the planet has found itself in over recent months.

“I was having a lot of bizarre, recurring dreams that were hanging around after I woke up,” says Barbieri. “They were based around this woodland pathway, which is really summed up by the album cover – this surreal, deserted, Blair Witch Project type of environment."

"You’re going through these woods, heading towards this light, almost like you’re leaving life. That’s where the title Under A Spell came from – it was a feeling of not being totally in control."

"Almost as if your dreams are pointing you in directions that sometimes you can control and sometimes you can’t.”

Under A Spell was released on Kscope on 26th February, on CD, gatefold double black vinyl LP, limited edition gatefold double red vinyl LP (exclusive to the Kscope store) and digitally.

Official Purchase Links

Richard Barbieri

Richard Barbieri @ Facebook

Richard Barbieri @ Instagram